Sunday, July 31, 2005

$5 GC From So Cal Edison

Just found this on the Southern California Edison's website. They will give you a $5 Target Gift Card for taking this 15 minute survey. You need to be a Southern California Edison customer to participate and have your account number handy. The survey will ask you questions regarding your household and your energy use. At the end they will give you customized energy tips to help you cut back on energy usage that you can download and save in PDF format.

Also, you can save 20% off of your electric bill if you reduce your energy consumption during the summer months by 20% compared to the previous year with the 20/20 Summer Savings Program.

Not to fear my non-Edison readers. Here are some energy tips that you can all enjoy (from Edison's website):


The recommended temperature for your refrigerator should be between 10°F and 42°F, while the recommended temperature for the freezer is between 0°F and 5°F.

Don't let the frost in your refrigerator get more than 1/4" thick. Frost acts as an insulator and forces your fridge or freezer to work harder. Auto-defrost refrigerators take care of this problem for you but use more energy.

Turn Power Save to OFF and set the Humidity Control to DRY. (These switches control a heater that prevents sweating or condensation around the refrigerator door in humid geographic areas.)

Make sure your refrigerator and freezer doors seal airtight. Close a dollar bill or piece of paper in the door. If it pulls out easily, your refrigerator may need a door hinge adjustment or a new gasket.

Vacuum the refrigerator coils twice a year (or more if you have long-haired pets). Dirty coils make the refrigerator work harder and use more energy.

Automatic Dishwashers

Run your dishwasher only when full.

Use your dishwasher's automatic energy-saving cool-dry cycle. If your machine doesn't have this feature, turn it off manually after the final rinse and let the dishes air dry. Air-drying your dishes reduces your dishwasher's energy usage by 40%.

When purchasing a new dishwasher, use the EnergyGuide labels to compare the annual operating costs of similar models. Also look for these energy-saving features:
Short cycle selection for lightly soiled dishes.
Less hot water usage.
Automatic air-dry cycle.

Ovens and Stoves

Get a pan ready to go and place it on the burner before you turn on the heat. And don't forget to turn the heat off when you're through using it.

Use the right pan for the job. Foods will cook faster and at a lower temperature if you use pots and pans with flat bottoms and tight-fitting lids. Oversized and undersized pans waste energy.

Don't pre-heat the oven unless you need to. Preheat only for baked foods that require precise temperatures, such as cakes, cookies, and breads. Casseroles, roasts, broiled foods, and other dishes don't need to go into a warm oven.

Follow the recipe and use the oven light as your guide for timing. Every time you open the oven to check on your dish, about 25 degrees of heat escape.

Turn your oven off about five minutes before the allotted cooking time is up. Leave the door closed to retain heat.

Microwave ovens use approximately half the energy of conventional ovens.

More to come later!

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Saturday, July 30, 2005

What I could do with my interest money

Every month I'm always shocked when I check my credit card balance and the total has gone UP instead of DOWN. I flip out and think that I have become the victim of identity theft and that someone has been using my card to buy sexy lingerie (do you remember those commercials?). In a panic I check my transaction history and realize that the balance has gone up because they have added my finance charges. Geez, I hate that!

At this point I am paying a little more than $50 every month just to finance my debt. And that is a lot of money! I started thinking of all the ways I could be spending this extra $50 every month and I got really sad.

1) I could be putting that money towards paying off even more of my debt every month instead of racking up more. If you think about it $50 x 12 = $600 which would be more than half a month off of my debt repayment plan!

2) I could ALMOST buy a new pair of shoes every month, or at least not feel guilty about buying these.

3) I could save up a down payment for my chateau. In about 30 years I might have saved up half of what I need.

4) I could buy a big SUV and spend an extra $50 on gas every month.

5) Have a fancy dinner at Chez Panisse every month (alone and without drinks).

6) Drink about 15 Black Forest Coffee Drinks from the Coffee Bean every month.

7) One night out on the town with cover charge and 3 apple martinis.

8) 5 extra movies every month.

9) I could buy that really cute sweater I've been drooling over at the GAP.

10) Buy one pair of underwear from Victoria's Secret (yeah right).

Until I pay it off, that $50 will have to go to the interest! At any rate, I made another $100 payment on my card so I won't be tempted to spend it. New balance = $16,788.50.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Strangest Money Saving Tips

There are tons and tons of websites dedicated to helping you save your money. I've learned quite a lot from these websites but I am sometimes baffled by the hard core money saving ideas that people have come up with. Some of them just make me laugh so I decided I would post some of them here.

1) Flea Control

Plug a night-light into an outlet and place a bowl under it that is filled with water and just a touch of dish detergent. The fleas will jump at the light and get stuck in the water. (The dish detergent prevents them from jumping back out.) It was less than a week and our (1700 sq ft) house was clear of fleas.

Call me crazy but I just have a bad feeling about putting a bowl of water near an electrical outlet.

2) Keeping bacon, deli meats, lettuce etc fresher longer!

Don't toss those cereal bags from inside your cereal boxes! They're treated with a preserving agent (kept your cereals fresh, right?) and if you remove bacon from its original wrapper, rinse it all and place it into a cereal bag...voila! No gungy, goopy bacon, ever! The same with deli meats, lettuce, anything you want to keep fresher longer!

You want me to put my bacon...where?

3) Vinegar for your hair.

Used as a hair rinse, vinegar neutralizes the alkali left by shampoos.

And it leaves your hair with a nice vinegary aroma, mmmmm.

4) Car Tip

To prevent corrosion on your battery posts, apply some vaseline to them. Make sure that your car engine is cold before attempting this.

Because if it's still hot you'll probably have some medical bills to pay.

5) Use of the last bit of a bar of soap by putting it into an old sock and tying the end and using it to bathe.

I just wouldn't feel clean rubbing myself with an old sock.

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

You don't have to be a hermit

Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that having fun doesn't always mean having to fork over the big bucks. Let's face's not always easy being social when you are trying to save money. Just a night out for dinner and a movie can cost $20 per person and a night of drinking can end up costing $50 if you're not smart about it (martinis are not cheap!). So per my sister's suggestion, I decided to post some cheap or FREE ways to have fun this summer.

1) If you live in L.A. or New York or any other big city, go check out free tapings of T.V. shows. If you live in Chicago, even better. Go see Oprah and heck you might even get a free car. Not sure how easy it is to get tickets to Oprah as I'm sure there are thousands of rabid women looking to get a piece of the action. Personally, I was able to visit the Jay Leno show when my favorite singer, Bjork, was on and also got a glimpse of Kevin Spacey and was able to harass the evil Bill O'Reilly (yo, he was dissing on Berkeley peeps). Better yet, why not go on a game show! Ha, wouldn't that be great if I went on Wheel of Fortune or the Price is Right and won beaucoup bux!

2) Get into the great outdoors. A lot of these activities cost nothing if you already have the right equipment. Find a good bike trail, go hiking, or play some volleyball at the beach (sorry to all you inlanders). Snorkeling was my personal pick. I bought some fins and mask for about $40 last year and I'm sure they will last me for many snorkeling trips. Not only are outdoor activities cheap or free but they will usually get your blood pumping so you can pass on your pricey gym membership.

3) Take in some culture. I must be a real nerd but sometimes I love going to the library. They have a lot more than books; think free magazines, newspapers and free a/c. Stop subscribing to all those mags and just take a day to go hang out at the library and get it all for free. Museums also will usually have one day out of the month (maybe more?) where they offer free admission. Go look at some paintings or artifacts and make everyone think you are really smart. Also, check out your local event calendar for free activities like festivals or outdoor concerts.

4) Volunteer and put yourself to some good use. Get off your butt and go do something good for humanity. If you are a pet lover, why not donate some of your time to the local humane society and play with the under-loved animals. Or if you happen to care about people as well, visit a convalescent home. Or if you don't like animals or humans, you can do the environment a favor by cleaning up a beach, a river, or some place where us nasty humans have decided to trash.

5) Invite your friends over. You don't necessarily have to leave home to have fun. Make dinner together or do some baking. Have a flour fight and cover each other with icing. As far as I remember, this was really fun when I was 12 years old, so it might still be kind of fun. After dinner, play some board games. Further evidence that I am a nerd, I love board games. I will kick your ass in trival pursuit any day.

I'm sure there are tons more fun ideas. I'd love to hear what you have to say.

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Today was a good day

Fridays in general are just good days but today was especially nice. Not only was it Friday Payday (woohoo) but ING Direct announced that they have raised their interest rates (double woohoo). ING Direct now pays 3.15% APY, up from 3%! My paycheck this period reflected my new raise and my bonus so I am celebrating by making a $600 payment to my monstrous credit card. The debt is down to the 16k's. I love reaching those benchmarks but then again everything is a benchmark in my book (the 18ks, the 17ks, etc).

I really should pay more than $100 extra than I normally do. I am tempted to go shopping and buy lots of new clothes. ::sigh:: I was coerced into going to the mall with my coworker yesterday and saw some really cute things at Banana Republic. I don't think anyone should be allowed to go to the mall on their lunch hour because you end up finding ways of spending your money before you actually make it. I'll try to resist the urge and be a good girl.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Free Money with 0% Interest

Yes, you read right. I said free money. I don't know about you but I get tons of low APR checks from my credit card company every month, some of them offering 0% interest for 6 months. I get them so much that I started thinking of crafty ways that I could use them to my own advantage. If you are a regular reader (haha, all 2 of you), then you'll probably know that I have used those checks to lock in low rates for all of my other debt. That's all fine and good but it's not FREE money.

Well here's my idea. What if you write the check to yourself, deposit it your ING Direct savings account that earns 3% interest (yes, you should have a savings account with ING Direct and if you don't you should email me so I can hook you up), and then once the 6 months are up just pay the money back. Depending on how high your credit limit is that could be a nice chunk of change.

Let's say for example, once I have paid off my credit card balance I will have a credit limit of $23,700 and I write myself a check for $23,000. If I deposit that money in a savings account earning 3% interest over 6 months and I have to pay a transfer fee of $50 max, than I will end up with $305.50 or about $50.91/month. That is $50 a month for doing absolutely nothing! Not bad I say.

Be careful though that your credit card company doesn't charge fees that would work out to be more than the actual interest you would be earning. My card is great in that there is a max to how much they will charge for balance transfers. Others do not have a max and so there would be little point in trying to pull this off. Also, if you don't pay it back on time the interest rate will shoot up to the max they can charge which is usually about 23%, and that would just not be good at all.

I need to hurry up and pay off my credit card so I can start earning free money. :)

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Monday, July 18, 2005

I'm a money extrovert

Ever since I started this blog I get comments from people who think its a great idea but say that they could never do it because they wouldn't want people to know their financial situation. I know that sharing one's personal life isn't for everyone but I think it is the most bizarre thing ever that people hide their financial lives in the closet like its a big bad secret that no one should know about. I must have missed that day of social indoctrination school when you have it ingrained in your head that money is a no-no subject. I don't go around talking about money all the time or telling everybody I meet how much money I make or how much debt I am in but I'm sure if they asked I wouldn't mind telling them.

I was reading an interesting article here about the way that most Americans lie about money and debt. They say that 75% of people claim that they don't make any major purchases with their credit cards but 74% say they are worried about not being able to pay their credit card bills every month. What is even more bizarre is that 58% of the people surveyed said they actually paid their credit cards off of every month while in reality that number is closer to 40% and that we believe that only 3% of other people pay off their credit cards. So basically everyone is living in denial and thinks everyone else is the problem, except me of course, ;)

My thinking is that at least if I talk about it maybe someone else won't make the same mistake I made. Everyone makes mistakes but its all in how you learn from the mistakes that will keep you growing in the right direction. At the risk of sounding totally cheesy, you're net worth is more than what you have in the bank account or on your credit card, its who you are and what you do with your life.

On another note, I was reminded of how insignificant all these little money problems are. I went camping at Catalina Island (camping is a cheap alternative to a vacation!) and saw the most amazing sunset. Check it out:

Image hosted by

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Thursday, July 14, 2005

I got a raise

I don't know if I should be bitter or if I should be happy. I had my annual review today and was kind of nervous about the whole thing because I didn't know what to expect. This is my first job since I graduated from college so I feel totally naive and vulnerable when it comes to salary and raises. It's hard to get any straight advice about salary or raises because money is such a taboo topic with people and they get all weird and freakish if you ever bring it up.

My supervisors had nothing bad to say about me. They went on about what a great job I was doing, how I make a great addition to the team, and that I take a lot of initiative to improve upon myself and make improvements for the company. I was stoked and though there were a few akward questions that took me a while to answer I made it through o.k. (i.e. what about your job can you see yourself doing in the long term? ummmm, nothing? )

After all that I was offered a little more than 4% raise. They said that that was pretty much the cap they were allowed to give for people on raises but they also offered a small bonus. As far as I can tell, a 4% raise isn't anything to write home about and I kind of have mixed feelings about it. I accepted it without argument but now I kind of regret that I didn't push for a larger raise. Arghghhghg. Maybe I'm destined to be in debt forever?

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Monday, July 11, 2005

Debt-to-Credit Limit Ratios

I thought I was being real smart when I transferred my car loan to my credit card. My logic was that I would be shaving off about 1% interest on $14,000 over a 2 year period which would save me about $280. What I didn't plan on was that this would screw up my FICO score. Your FICO score is basically a rating of your credit and determines what kind of interest rate you will get when you apply for a loan. If you have a high FICO score (720-850) you will get the best rates available whereas if you have a low FICO score (500-589) you're probably going to pay up the wazoo in interest.

Part of your score is calculated by determining what your debt-to-credit limit ratio is. This is the combined amount of debt you owe on credit cards in relation to your total credit limits. Notice that it only combines credit card totals and not your total debt (excludes student loans, car loans, home loans).

For example, before I transferred my car loan to my credit card I had a total credit card debt of about $10,000 and a credit limit of $23,700 which gave me a debt-to-credit limit ratio of about 42%. Once I transferred my car loan to my credit card to take advantage of the lower interest rate my credit card debt shot up to $22,000 and my ratio soared to 93%.

All of a sudden the bank saw me as a threat. My interest rate shot up to 22% but thank god my interest rates for any balance that I carried was locked in for the life of the loan. I was baffled that they would raise my interest rate so high considering I had not acquired any new debt (just moved it around), I had never been late on a payment, and was steadily paying 2-3 times my minimum every month. Even after whiddling my ratio down to 73% those bastards won't lower my interest rate to anything less than 21%. Its probably all for the best though because its a great deterrant to accumulating any new debt.

One way to off set the high debt-to-credit limit ratio is to simply ask them to raise your credit limit. My credit card company is retarded and they won't let me raise my credit limit either but perhaps it will work for you!

Did you notice? I made another payment bringing my debt to a measley $17,436.31. Yeah!

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Sunday, July 10, 2005

Traveling on a budget

I'm long overdue for a vacation. It has been years since I've been anywhere interesting and I'm chopping at the bit to get the hell out of here. After college my friend joined the Peace Corps and moved to Bangladesh and for years we've been planning our trip to Thailand. We were originally planning on going in the beginning of this year but then the tsunami happened and we didn't think it would be a great idea to go at that time.
Traveling is a major cause of my current debt situation. I've partially financed two trips to Europe on my credit cards and even though they were more than 3 years ago I am still paying for them. This will be my first trip that I won't be paying for with the plastic. I know you think it counter-productive to go on vacation while I'm in so much debt but things like this are what keep me going back to work every day.

So stay tuned for money saving travel trips. Here are a few to get you started:

Avoid traveling around the holidays. Most airlines have "blackout days" around popular holidays, when fares are more expensive and passengers cannot use frequent flyer miles. However, flying on the day of the actual holiday (Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day) generally means low airfares and plenty of seats.
Sign up for fare special e-mails. When airlines get into a fare war, the cost of a plane ticket can fall overnight and the discounted fare may be sold out by noon the next day. Get on the mailing list of airlines and other travel Web sites so you can be notified immediately if fares drop.
Look into booking your vacation as a package. You might be able to save by booking your airline tickets along with your hotel room or rental car.
Buy your tickets at least 21 days in advance. There are usually four different timetables for advance purchase: 21-day, 14-day, 7-day, and 3-day. The further in advance you book your flight, the lower the fare you're likely to find.
Keep your airline options open. Use a travel Web site to search for fares instead of the individual airline sites, and choose "none" as a carrier preference.
Consider another airport. Find out about all the airports that are near your destination city. You might be able to fly into a smaller airport or neighboring city at a much lower rate.
Stay over a Saturday night. Airlines quote the highest fares to business travelers, who fly during the week and spend their weekends at home. If you plan to leave for your trip on a Wednesday and return on Saturday, your fare would be considerably higher than if you extended your trip to Sunday morning.
Fly on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Some airlines offer cheaper fares on specific days of the week. Generally, it's cheapest to fly on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Remember, though, that a Saturday stay is necessary to receive the lowest rate.
Be flexible about the time of day you travel. If possible, let the fares dictate the day and time of your departure. Often the less popular early morning or late evening flights have lower rates.
Pick a flight with plenty of open seats. Seats in a flight are divided into "classes," and each class has its own price. Since the cheapest classes sell first, the fewer seats that are left on a plane, the more expensive they are.
Sign up for a frequent flyer program. If you are a frequent traveler, it may make more sense for you to fly consistently with the same airline and accumulate frequent flyer miles, rather than base your criteria strictly on which carrier has the lowest fare for a particular destination.

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Saturday, July 09, 2005

Sprint PCS Employee Discounts

Sprint PCS offers customer discounts to employees of certain companies (see list below). In addition, any of you that work in any healthcare setting (doctors, nurses, janitors, receptionists, you name it, etc.) may be eligible for savings of 10%-25% off of your monthly bill.

Call 1-888-252-2930 or *2 from your PCS phone and ask to get a business or healthcare employee discount. They will switch you to the business section and get your employer's information. Depending on where you work, you can get anywhere from 10 to 25% off of your bill. Some have dropped their bill to $15/month.

I've also heard that ING Direct customers receive a 15% Sprint discount. I do not currently have Sprint and can't switch over right now but if you do its worth looking into. Check it out at or call 888-788-4727 if you are an existing customer to see if you qualify. And if you're already a Sprint customer, just dial #ING on your Sprint phone to reach an ING Direct Associate from the hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Hope this helps out.

Heres the list of employers who are eligible for the discount:

Aetna 12%
American Airlines 25%
Army/USAA/Military/Air Force/... 12% (Or 5%?)
Arthur Andersen 20%
Bank of America 23%
Best Buy 13%
Boeing 25%
Capital One 12%
Cerner Corporation 15%
Chase 25%
Chevrolet 12% (Or 25%?)
ChevronTexaco - 20%
Chevron Credit Card? 25%
CircuitCity 12 or 18%
Cisco Systems 9%
CitiGroup 25%
Citrus Valley Health Partners 25%
Costco 10%
Discover Card 12%
Electronic Data Systems (EDS) 25%
Ernst and Young 15%
Ferguson Enterprises 15%
Ford 25% (Or 23%?)
Freight Liner Corporation 12%
General Electric (GE) 25%
Hewlett Packard 20%
Hospitals (also see VA below)? 25%
H&R Block 10%
IBM 25%
Johns Hopkins University students and staff 15%
K-Mart 15%
KPMG 12%
Lane Bryant 8%
Law Enforcement 25%
Lockheed 8%
Lowe's 9%
Lucent Technologies 23%
Merrill Lynch 20%
Metro 1 15%
Motorola 25%
Northwest Airlines 25%
Northwestern Mutual 13%
OfficeMax 13%
Oracle 10%
Raymond James Financial 11%
Raytheon 20%
Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) 10%
Sears 25%
Sherwin Williams 18%
Southwest Airlines 15%
State Farm Insurance 22.5%
Sun Microsystems 20%
SunTrust 18%
Target 15%
Time Warner 24%
Tricon Global(Yum Foods) 11%
United Airlines 25%
United Parcel Service (UPS) 25%
University of Missouri 13%
VA Medical Center 25%
Verizon 25%
Walgreens 8%
Wyndham International 15%
Xerox 15%

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Friday, July 08, 2005

My Next Career Move

It's about time for me to make a strategic career the wonderful world of professional eating. Think about it: you can win loads of money just by stuffing your face with ding dongs, ho-hos and goodness knows what else. With a little practice and determination I can roll with the big dawgs and start winning as much as $10,000 per event.

My idol is Sonya Thomas aka "The Black Widow". Look at her! She looks like she weighs no more than 100 lbs but she can pack it away like food was going out of style. Here are just some examples of her incredible talent:

  • Acme Oysters: 46 dozen (552) in 10 minutes.
  • Hard-Boiled Eggs: 65 in 6' 40 seconds.
  • Downtown Atlantic Cheesecake: 11 pounds in 9 minutes.
  • Buffalo Wings: 162 (5.09 pounds) in 12 minutes.
  • 84 Lumber Baked Beans: 8.4 pounds in 2' 47 seconds.
  • Zocalo's Tacos (Soft-shell Chickem): 48 in 11 minutes.
  • Cheese Quaesadillas: 31 1/2 (four-inch size) in 5 minutes.
  • Soft-shell Maine Lobster: 38 (9.76 pounds) in 12 minutes.
  • Lulu's Crawfish Jambalaya: 9 pounds in 10 minutes.
  • Chicken Nuggets: 80 in 5 minutes.

If Sonya can do it, so can I. Just a few competitions and I will be out of the red and on my way to owning my first chateau!

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Vice & Virtue

Getting out of debt is all about self denial, saving money and cutting back on unncessary expenditures. I'm always looking for ways to cut back but I still have my weak spots.

For instance I could save loads of money if I could live without:

Guilty Pleasure #1: Netflix $19.47/month
Whoever came up with Netflix is a genius. The worst thing in the world is going to a video rental store and having to spend hours browsing movies because whoever you are with can't make up their mind what movie they want to watch. Netflix is video store liberation. As great as Netflix is I really don't need it. I could be doing better things with myself like learning a new language or reading a book but its just so much fun to rent every episode of Sex and the City and spend an entire weekend catching up on the episodes that you missed.

Guilty Pleasure #2: Audiobooks $14.95/month
My iPod gets very hungry and demands audiobooks on a regular basis. Audiobooks make my life worth living when I commute to and from work. Such great literary classics such as "Confessions of a Shopaholic" and "The Devil Wears Prada" may have saved my life by dulling the urge to commit road rage or from dozing off while driving on the freeway.

Guilty Pleasure #3: Tivo $12.99/month
TV with no commercials. Nuf said.

Although I have my guilty pleasures, I must say that I do deny myself plenty of things.

Sacrifice #1: Having my own place

This is the mother of all sacrifices. Living at home is like subjecting oneself to constant torture. Its the torture of having no space for any of your things. The torture of having to go through the doggie obstacle course because you are forced to live with 4 horse-sized dogs. And the torture of having no privacy. All of it is worth it though especially if you live in southern California and you can't even get a decent studio apartment for $700.

Sacrifice #2: Nice hair-cuts, manicures, pedicures, new clothes, make-up....
You can imagine how fugly I look!

Sacrifice #3: Eating Out
I hate eating my money. Imagine how much money we could save if we didn't have to eat. I have a love/hate relationship with food. Some of it is soooo good and yummy but we have to eat so often (3 times a day!) that it becomes a chore. I try to minimize the damage by packing a lunch every day to work and eating at home as often as possible.

So those are my little vices and virtues. What are some of yours?

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Sunday, July 03, 2005

If only I could get my hands on this...

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Saturday, July 02, 2005

Great Deal at Amazon is currently offering a $50 rebate when you buy certain Kimberly-Clark and Unilever Products (Cottonelle, Huggies, Dove, Kleenex, All Laundry, Scott Paper Towels, Q-Tip, Viva Paper, Degree, Lever 2000, Kotex, Vaseline, & Pull-Ups). This is a great time to stock up on all those items you use around the house. All the items qualify for free shipping (shipping would have cost a whoppin' $43 if I actually had to pay for it). I was able to buy tons of stuff I would have bought otherwise.

You always need toilet paper, paper towels, Kleenex, body wash, laundry detergent etc so you might as well stock up while its 50% off!

Offer good from July 1- July 31.

Get Your $50 Rebate

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Trash Into Cash

I've been thinking lately about water bottles. More specifically, I've been thinking about how much water bottles are worth. I have this terrible habit of leaving empty water bottles lying around and letting them accumulate in piles in my car and in my room. Gross, I know. Today was cleaning day so as I was looking at my collection of bottles I wondered if like aluminum cans, I could cash in on them at the recycling center. After doing some research on the net I realized that all this time I've been giving away my money to the city (the city collects the recyclable goods with the trash). Evidentally this whole time I could have been cashing in on the CRV (California Refund Value) on almost all my plastic and glass containers.

I've always been a fan of recycling for environmental reasons but now recycling will really start paying off for me. Granted, you probably won't get rich off of recycling but if you're going to do it anyways (and you should), then you might as well get paid to do it. What's amazing is that more than 1 billion water bottles are ending up in the trash every year in California and that’s about $26 million in unclaimed California Refund Value (CRV) deposits annually. All those plastic bottles also add up to a total of 194 thousand yards of cubic landfill space each year, enough to cover an area 50 yards wide by one inch deep from the coast of San Francisco to San Luis Obispo (source: EMA).

Heres the low down:

4 cents per container less than 24 ounces
8 cents per container more than 24 ounces
For juice containers above 48 ounces, no deposit is collected or paid back to you.

Examples of CRV items
Soda bottles
Soda cans
Beer cans
Beer bottles
Water bottles
Sports drinks
Tea and coffee drinks
Juices ( less than 48 ounces )

Items NOT included in the CRV program:
Wine bottles
Milk jugs
Juice boxes ( Tetra Pak )
Juices in foil pouches
Juices ( more than 48 ounces )
Diet drinks

Don't be surprised if you see me dumpster diving for bottles and cans!

I made another payment today to mentally psyche msyelf out. Now I've got the debt down to the $17k's!

Current Debt: $17,936.31

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